[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         July 11, 2008

General Officers Steering Committee completes 10 AFAP issues

By Margaret McKenzie, FMWRC Public Affairs

      ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Ten of the 25 issues submitted to the General Officers Steering Committee (GOSC) through the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) process were listed as completed at the GOSC conference June 5.

      The issues completed or resolved were: dental services for retirees overseas; nonsubsidized reserve component group health and dental insurance; reserve component retired pay; leave accrual; enlisted promotion points submission; temporary lodging for single servicemembers with partial custody/visitation; shortage of professional marriage and professional counselors; staffing to support the physical disability evaluation system; Army Community Service manpower and funding; and funding for the exceptional family member program respite care.

      Most of the issues were reflective of the mobilization and deployment operational tempo, Army Transformation, and the Army's commitment to provide a better quality of life for military members and their families.

      In his opening remarks, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren thanked everyone for the work they do to support the AFAP process.

      "This is a critical time in the life of the Army," Geren said. "The contributions that you are all making are shaping our Army so that it works for the entire Army Family.  I want to thank you very much for all you've done and look forward to continuing to work with you to advance your initiatives.

      "This process is detailed and occasionally tedious," Geren said. "But this is the type of effort that's necessary in order to work through these issues and make them work for Soldiers' families."

      He went on to thank the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and his wife, Gen. Richard and Mrs. Vicky Cody, for the contributions they have made to the health of Army Families as part of the initiative to improve Army quality of life.

      "Our Army could not have two greater champions for Soldiers and families than you and Vicky, so thank you for your extraordinary work and leadership," he said.

   This is the eighth and last AFAP conference that Cody will chair. Under his watch, 53 issues have been completed, resulting in nine legislative changes, 21 Department of Defense or Army policy changes, and 22 improved programs or services.

   Some of the changes that the AFAP GOSC closed while Cody was the chair include: separate dental and vision insurance options for civilian employees; the implementation of family readiness support assistants to the battalion level, Armywide; access to military installations for family care plan providers; and expansion of education benefits for surviving spouses, to name just a few.  Cody also saw the inclusion of the Army Teen Panel and Wounded Warriors as active participants in the Army Family Action Plan process. 

      "You all have been great scouts on behalf of our families and our Soldiers and our civilians, active, guard and reserve, during a very historic time for our Army," Cody said.  "Six years at war with an all volunteer force -- those of us who came in during the Vietnam War scratched our heads and said, 'An all volunteer Army?'  but look at where we've come.

      The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command in Alexandria, Va., oversees the AFAP program and sustains and maintains the ongoing AFAP process.

      In its 25th year of giving a voice to issues affecting Soldiers and families and the civilians who serve, AFAP addresses real time concerns and continues to re-examine programs and processes and recommend changes that are flexible, responsive, and timely to the needs of Soldiers and families.

      Empowering Soldiers and families through the AFAP process will continue to raise the bar for Army standards of living. Tailoring the AFAP process to the unique requirement of the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve will create real-time solutions for concerns that their Soldiers and families face, as well.

      The next GOSC meeting, conducted concurrently with the worldwide AFAP conference, is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2009.


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